Temporary public spaces in unstable contexts: practices, lessons and tools

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Interdisciplinary approaches to research on public spaces indicate the broad interest in understanding their complexity and roles as stages but also resultants of social interactions. Despite their ever changing nature (Tornaghi, and Knierbein, 2015), public spaces persist over time as expressions, experiences and relations of urban contexts with their urban dwellers, while being stamped by local particularities, and affected by global waves. In particular, the role of public spaces in unstable contexts is becoming one urgent strand for research. The paper focuses on temporary public spaces, which provide insights on how their temporariness reinstates common values towards mitigating unstable contexts. The paper first utilises the triad of space production by Lefebvre to explain the dialectics of the production of conventional and temporary urban public spaces, and explain how public spaces are affected by instability. Rhythm analysis (Lefebvre) is used as the framework explaining how the context-specific tools and processes of temporary public spaces address instability. An ongoing study since 2006 on Beirut’s temporary public spaces serves to illustrate the role of temporary public spaces in mitigating social instability. Finally, the conclusion presents some lessons learned on temporary public spaces, which act as an impulse for urban recovery and social integration within unstable contexts.
Book of proceedings: Annual AESOP Congress, Definite Space – Fuzzy Responsibility, Prague, 13-16th July, 2015
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